This roasted pork is a staple at Chinese restaurants, typically hung on hooks in front of a display window, glossy red on the outside, juicy on the inside (see Cook’s Note). As for the flavor, it can lean either more sweet or savory. We prefer a slightly sweeter char siu with a twist: the addition of peanut butter lends a subtle nutty flavor that makes the meat even more delicious. Serve it over white rice with a Chinese green vegetable, such as bok choy, and a light drizzle of soy sauce. Any leftovers are great tossed into a stir-fry, fried rice, noodle soups or vegetable side dishes. You can also use the meat to make char siu bao.
Place the pork shoulder in a resealable plastic bag. Whisk together the sugar, cooking wine, hoisin sauce, light soy sauce, peanut butter, red bean curd sauce, ginger, five-spice powder, dark soy sauce, red bean curd, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Strain 1/2 cup of the marinade into a bowl and stir in the honey. Cover the glaze and refrigerate.
Meanwhile, pour the remaining marinade into the bag with the pork and “massage” the meat until it’s completely coated. Seal the bag, pressing out as much of the air as possible, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
When the pork is almost ready, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F with a rack in the center position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with 2 layers of aluminum foil and top with a wire rack. Generously spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Lay the pork slices on the prepared baking sheet with at least 1 inch between each slice, then pour 1/3 cup cold water into the baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway, until the thickest part of the pork registers 145 degrees F on a meat (or instant-read) thermometer, about 55 minutes.
Remove the pork from the oven and preheat the broiler on high until super hot.
Flip the pork slices over and broil until the surface is dry, about 7 minutes. Brush the top of the slices with about half of the refrigerated glaze. Broil until the glaze is caramelized and bubbling, about 9 minutes. Flip the pork slices over again and brush the top with the remaining glaze. Broil until the glaze is caramelized and bubbling, about 9 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes. Cut into pieces, as desired.
Char siu is often prepared with red food coloring. We left it out of this recipe, but you can add 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring to the marinade, if you like.
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